Saturday, July 31, 2021


Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Film on Climate Activist Brings Direct Action to MT Documentary Festival


Thursday, February 22, 2018   

MISSOULA, Mont. — In October 2016, five climate activists shut down oil pipelines by hand in a coordinated effort across four states, stopping about 15 percent of the country's oil imports for nearly a day.

The film "The Reluctant Radical" is about one of those activists, Ken Ward. And it has been nominated for best feature documentary at this week's Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

Ward shut off an emergency valve of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which delivers Canadian tar sands to Washington state. He has been part of other protests to stop climate change, but said a big action like this was needed.

"We're at the edge of an abyss. We're in a last-stage crisis, so we need everything,” Ward said. “I think that the kind of action that we undertook is little used, however, and so I think we need a lot more of that. I think that it is more powerful than lower-risk protests, but I think both are important."

Ward was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, but was only sentenced to two days in jail.

Another one of the so-called valve turners, Leonard Higgins, shut off a pipeline in Montana. In November, he was found guilty of trespassing and criminal mischief but has not yet been sentenced.

Lindsey Grayzel directed the documentary and said her goal was to paint an authentic picture of Ward, including the difficult parts of his life. In the end, she said she found Ward's story to be an inspiring one.

"This is a film that shows, really, how difficult it is to stand firm in your beliefs, even when the rest of society is not paying attention,” Grayzel said. “And I have deep admiration for all the valve turners."

She and three other filmmakers were arrested for documenting Ward's actions in October 2016. Charges against them have since been dropped.

Ward said it was strange watching himself as the focus of the movie - quipping he wishes he'd shaved a little more during its filming. He said he believes the personal approach of this documentary could inspire people to fight climate change.

"I don't think that dry writing about policy was working,” he said. “So I was willing to, on my end, try to open my personal life and personal story because that might be more effective. It might be a more effective story."

"The Reluctant Radical" is screening at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts Thursday at 6 p.m. and Wilma Theater on Friday at 1 p.m.

get more stories like this via email

In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)


LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …

Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021